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Health and Safety: Risk Assessments – Thinking Survival of the Safest

Health and Safety: Risk Assessments – Thinking Survival of the Safest

The risk assessment (RA) process should ideally begin at the work activity planning stage and continue throughout the work activity. They should be complemented by periodic reviews to ensure risk assessments are always specific and complete current tasks.

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A preliminary assessment should be made to determine whether each hazard presents a significant risk of injury or damage to the company. The risk arising from each hazard should then be measured using a risk matrix, taking into account current company procedures and existing work permits / controls.

Once all initial significant hazards have been identified, managers should seek to minimize risks by listing special precautions and ensuring that staff and other affected individuals fully comply with controls. Precautions should take care of each hazard in turn. Before moving on to the next identified hazard, supervisors should ensure that the risk of injury is as low as possible.

After the precautions have been taken, the hazards need to be addressed to ensure that the residual risk of each hazard has a low risk score. Hazards that indicate a risk assessment of more than "low" after the introduction of precautionary measures should not be continued.

Work should be reviewed to find alternative methods of closure or additional precautions that allow the work to be carried out without risk of injury or damage. The determination of residual risk must be carried out in the same manner as in the initial assessment, as each hazard must be considered individually and the risk of injury / damage must be calculated.